What can ERP do to support your manufacturing quality control department?

Your quality control department might have many needs that your current ERP system just doesn't support. Some users have developed off-line, work-around solutions, but they would prefer a process integrated with their ERP system.

Quality departments need to manage compliance with external and internal requirements.

ERP quality control for your customer

Discrete manufacturers make discrete products from discrete components. Customers specify some components. Some customers need a specific part number from a certain manufacturer, and others might offer a choice of several items listed in their approved supplier lists. Your business should be able to rely on your ERP system to control purchases. If you are making an SKU for customer A, the ERP will develop planned purchases, but it is important that the buyers only order the item specified by customer A. Customer B might need the same item, but if they have not specified a particular manufacturer and model, you can use the same one used for customer A or a less expensive item. That part might be generic, like a ¼ – 20 x 5/8 screw, but only a certain manufacturer’s screw can be used for customer A. Your current ERP system may not keep those separate.

Quality is about delivering what customers need even when they don't specifically ask for it.

ERP quality control for you

Another area that ERP systems can help with is meeting your own compliance requirements. For example, manufacturers have assembly instructions, which are parallel to ERP routings. The instructions might say to slide the right side of a part into the tabs on another part and screw them together. The next step in the operation is to do the same for the left side. However, you may not know whether the shop floor employee assembled the piece on the right and then the left or the other way around. It may not make a difference, but quality processes require you to make every product the same way every time to ensure repeatability. In addition, there might be a good reason to assemble the piece from the left and then the right, but you will never know without documenting the precise operations on the shop floor.

Recommended Reading: ERP Software RFP - Find a software system to support your ERP quality control plans

Businesses can use the better reporting capabilities of modern ERP systems to help with external reporting. Every organization that asks for data requires its own format, even though the data might be very similar. Updating the ERP system you use can really help because the business intelligence applications available today are vastly improved over those available in the past.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller